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Women Unlimited

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Over 2000 women are expected at a work and training event on Tuesday at which leading employers, training organisations and other experts will provide advice and information to women who want to explore the range of opportunities open to them.

Hosted by Ministers for Women, Margaret Jay and Tessa Jowell, Women Unlimited will help women make a positive change to their working lives. In addition to discussing opportunities with exhibitors, women attending will also have the chance to take part in up to five seminars covering a range of subjects from CV writing and interview skills to high tech opportunities and setting up in business.

Women Unlimited is sponsored by leading IT company Sun Microsystems, the European Social Fund and Ford. Speaking at the event, held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, Minister for Women Margaret Jay said:

“In ten years time there will be over one million extra jobs and most of these could go to women provided they have the right skills. Brain is replacing brawn as the driving force of the UK economy and women’s participation is increasingly vital to our continued economic success.

“Women Unlimited is a great example of Government working effectively with partners in the private and public sector to encourage women to make the most of the opportunities available to them. This is the first event of its kind and we will be considering with our partner organisations, based on comment from the women here today, how best to take it forward.”

Small Business and E-Commerce Minister Patricia Hewitt, Home Office Minister Barbara Roche and Social Security Minister Patricia Hollis, are all backing and taking part in Women Unlimited. Tessa Jowell, Minister for Employment and Women said:

“As a result of Women Unlimited we want women to be better informed and sufficiently confident to make choices to benefit their own lives and those of their families. Half of the women here today registered for the event online so we will be considering with the E-Envoy’s Office what more can be done to improve access to information for women about work and training opportunities online.

“We know that women are keen to explore new opportunities and we want to encourage women and business to maximise women’s participation in the labour market. By equipping them with the right information Women Unlimited will help them do just that.”

Successful entrepreneur Madi Sharma, Managing Director of Original Eastern Foods, who joined the Ministers at the event, said:

“I’m backing Women Unlimited because I know that when I started my business I would have benefited from an event like this, to provide me with helpful advice and contacts.

“Running your own business is both challenging and rewarding. It requires enormous energy, commitment and the ability to juggle a wide range of tasks to tight time scales – skills and qualities which many women demonstrate every day caring for their families.”

Louise Proddow, Marketing Director, Sun Microsystems said:

“As lead sponsor, Sun is delighted to work with the Women’s Unit to help make this event possible. There are many new opportunities for women in IT and Sun is committed to helping women explore these. “The IT industry is suffering from a skills shortage and this is limiting the economic potential of business. Sun is working with government to encourage women to consider these new opportunities.”

Anyone unable to attend Women Unlimited can still benefit from the advice available by visiting
www.womens-unit.gov.uk/womenunlimited
Factsheets are on the site which can also be ordered by calling 020 7273 8801.

Barbara Roche will be talking about non traditional job opportunities in the Home Office as part of the Move Ahead – time to move on seminar. She will be accompanied by women police officers, probation and prison staff.

Patricia Hewitt is taking a leading role in the seminar geared towards women thinking about starting their own business. Women attending this seminar will benefit from the chance to discuss their queries and concerns directly with the Minister.

The five seminars focus on different work or training options available to women considering re-training, returning to work after a break, working in male dominated areas, setting up in business, or finding out about IT job and training opportunities.


  • ‘Move In – make the most of yourself’ – led by Learndirect and supported by the Association of Colleges, will give women practical advice on accessing training that fits both their purse and their lifestyle.
  • ‘Move On – make an impact’ supported by the Women Returners Network and the Civil Service College, focuses on the practicalities of getting a job in today’s labour market.
  • ‘Move Ahead – time to move on’ led by Manpower and Stepstone, explores job opportunities in non traditional employment from manual trades to the latest high tech industries.
  • ‘Move out – want to go it alone?’ led by DHP Southern Ltd and supported by the Small Business Service and Natwest, focuses on starting up in business and accessing financial support.
  • ‘Move IT – what can IT do for you?’ led by Learndirect and supported by Sun Microsystems explores how IT skills can improve your employment chances. Issues covered include IT training, learning new skills and where to find IT jobs.

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